As Tiger Woods, McElroy Fall, the WGC Match Play's Biggest Loser Is NBC

Dan JanutoloContributor IFebruary 22, 2013

A "Snowball" at WGC Match Play.
A "Snowball" at WGC Match Play.Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy was loose on more than a few iron shots. Tiger Woods played a bogey-free round but ran into a buzz saw.

And both lost in the first round of the WGC Match Play Championships. 

But the big loser is NBC Sports.

People who don't usually put the PGA on their weekend viewing list tune in when Woods and McIlroy are in the mix. With the top two players out for the weekend, NBC's ratings will lose this match badly. 

The "inevitable nosedive" in ratings that Bleacher Report columnist Michael Fitzpatrick warned about before the tournament is here. It is a bad bet by NBC to cover this event in the first place, since anything can happen in match play and usually does—even to the best players. 

By Sunday Alex Noran and Richard Sterne could be playing for the cup.

No disrespect, but only their parents and a few close friends have any idea who they are, as golfers anyway.

I'll watch almost anything golf related, but if the weather is nice Sunday afternoon, I'm finding a course to play instead of sitting in the man-cave to watch a couple of players I wouldn't recognize if they joined up with my twosome.

Such is NBC's problem. 

They cover this event year in and year out and pump it up as if it was a heavyweight fight.

It rarely is.

NBC prays that Tiger will be in the final match. That's only happened three times. 

My guess is the brass at NBC—at this point—are cheering for Bubba Watson, who won his first match. He can move the needle a bit on a Sunday, especially if "shot tracker" is used liberally so the few viewers still watching can see the way he moves the ball. 

Otherwise, it will be a finals match with two exceptional players who are boring—or worse, unknown to the casual fan.

Oh, and there's this tidbit: The match play finals are up against the Daytona 500, airing on another network. 

It might as well keep snowing. 


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